Mega Millions jackpot edges up to $454M

Associated Press

Des Moines, Iowa — The Mega Millions jackpot reached an estimated $454 million ahead of its next drawing on Tuesday evening, making it potentially the 7th largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history.

With slightly better odds than the Powerball game, it’s rare that nearly four months passes without someone winning a Mega Millions jackpot. It is the longest the game’s jackpot has rolled on without a top prize winner.

“This is our longest roll ever, by far,” said Paula Otto, executive director of the Virginia Lottery and lead director for Mega Millions, which is managed by a consortium of lottery organizations.

Tuesday could mark the 34th time the jackpot has rolled without a winner. The previous record was 22 rolls in December 2013.

Otto said there are several factors for the lack of a winner, and it includes fewer players. The highest jackpot drawn in the country was a $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot won in January by players in three states.

“It takes much bigger jackpots to get players excited,” she said. “It looks like the tipping point might be right about now.”

Paul Jeanne came out of Sam’s Lobby Shop in downtown Baltimore, Maryland waving a handful of Mega Millions tickets, jokingly claiming he was holding a fortune in his hands, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Jeanne said he knew his odds are slim to win the Mega Millions but felt marginally better going in with about a dozen co-workers in an office pool.

“When it gets big like this, we all throw a few bucks in and hope for the best,” the Homeland resident said. “You take your tiny odds and tiny odds get multiplied by a tiny bit, and hopefully, it comes in one of these times

Otto said if there’s no winner Tuesday night, the jackpot is expected to grow by more than $50 million.

The prize increased slightly Tuesday morning from a $449 million prize that was reached after no winner was selected Friday night. The jackpot will be the largest since a $429.6 million Powerball prize won by a New Jersey family on May 7.